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London - When Cara Delevingne stepped out on the catwalk, she became one of the inspirations for the 'thigh gap' trend, which demands legs so thin that they do not touch above the knees.
Admirers of this look even created Twitter and Facebook accounts dedicated to the 'thigh gap' with more than 700 000 followers sharing pictures.
But with a new year, comes a new social media trend. Make way for the 'bikini bridge', which Urban Dictionary describes as 'when bikini bottoms are suspended between the two hip bones, causing a space between the bikini and the lower abdomen.'
'Bikini bridge' enthusiasts have been uploading their own images to 4chan, an image sharing site, and a Twitter feed and Tumblr dedicated to the cause have been established.
The hashtag #bikinibridge is circulating on Twitter.
Users of 4chan are keen to promote the fad, one writing: “This should cause large enough of a stir to snowball into a fairly big subject.'
“After a fair amount of circulation has been accomplished, we circulate the images throughout parts of the Internet known to be biased on the subject of weight (i.e. thin privilege, fat shaming, etc).”
There are even facetious comments posted promoting the “benefits” of possessing a “bikini bridge” such as “fitting an ipod into your bikini bridge” and “getting a smoother tan line from your bikini bridge”.
Buzzfeed has also posted an article entitled “12 perks of having a bikini bridge” with reasons such as “it is the ultimate beach accessory”, “Harry Styles will be 857 percent more attracted to you'“and '“ou and your girls will become the talk of the town”.
As a result, in just 24 hours, what began as a hoax snowballed. Thus, #bikinibridge and #bikinibridge2014 was tweeted more than 2 400 times, with Harry Styles's endorsement - which has seen been deleted - receiving 115 359 favourites.
Lucy Attley, Dove Spokesperson who works on their self-esteem campaign, says: “The bikini bridge is yet another example of piling pressure on women to feel increasingly anxious about their bodies.
“Our ambition at Dove is for beauty to be a source of confidence, not anxiety. We want to inspire women everywhere to feel good about the bodies they have, and not experience the constant pressure that drives beauty anxieties, portraying an ideal of beauty that is not real or reflective of women in the UK.
“The New Year should be a time when women everywhere are inspiring each other to redefine and embrace a more positive relationship with beauty.”
Body image and wellbeing expert Katie Lowe added: “The bikini bridge is just another example of horrendous thinspiration that encourages young women to develop poor body image and self-esteem.
“Images like this used to be constrained to pro-anorexia websites - which are themselves dangerous, damaging communities for young men and women to encourage disordered eating behaviours.
“The fact that, alongside the thigh gap, the bikini bridge has now been covered by mainstream media sites as a positive attribute that women should aspire to have, just shows that ideas around women's bodies are getting worse, not better.
“Bikini bridge or otherwise, we need to learn that bodies are beautiful in all shapes and sizes - and encouraging young women to strive towards something like this is an unhealthy result of a body shaming culture which is causing over 4 500 girls aged 15-19 to develop a new eating disorder every single year.” - Daily Mail